Friday, March 24, 2006

There's snow in the hills

Driving in this morning – back in the sunshine again! – there were people out at the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’sign

(Go to Randa's site, I don't really like using other's pictures, especially copyrighted stuff. I really need to park and take some shots of my own, but when going home I just want to get there.)

But that’s taken with a telephoto lens, makes it look too close, while it is really at the end of the airport runways, kind of by itself. Pics on this site with the sign in 360 are more representational, but taken several years ago. The opening shot has changed, all the dirt area to the left is now a golf course, with high dirt berm along the road, with trees on top. All of the trees are gone from the median now, just empty dirt. Except for at the sign – last month the county put in some artificial grass right at the base of the sign, so there is a little green in all of those tourist pictures.

Back to this morning: today it was a group if Mini owners. Two had pulled their cars up on the median right in front of the sign, a third was parked in the turn lane taking photos. Wednesday on the way home from work it was another wedding photo – big limo at the curb, long white dress next to a tuxedo under the sign. Before that was some form of TV commercial – it’s easy to tell the ‘professionals’, lots of lights and reflectors and a couple of trucks full of accessories. It’s nice that the police don’t seem to bother the picture takers. There are three lanes of traffic in each direction at that point, and it does slow the going-home-from-work traffic quite a bit with gawkers slowing down to look. Every evening I usually have to dodge people running across from the nearby hotel.

Lots of work on Frank Sinatra Drive, the route I take coming in to work in the morning. That’s where MGM is building the six billion dollar City Center project. The employee parking garage is the first thing being built, to free up the lot where they park now. The employee garage will have over six thousand parking spots (that’s the employee garage). It’s now about seven stories high, but still having concrete poured. Half of FS Drive is closed off, some new sewer and water lines are being pulled from about a mile down the street. There are three of the biggest mobile shovels out there that I have ever seen – the buckets on them are big enough for me to drive my car into. When driving by in my Toyota the treads are higher than my car. There are two built in cranes working on the parking garage, and one mobile crane – the boom is high enough to lift things up around ten stories. What’s more impressive than the size of these things is the idea that they just showed up – somehow they are trucked in in pieces (no way can they fit whole on a truck) and put together on site.

I drive home in the evening on a different route. Frank Sinatra Drive runs on the east side of the I-15 freeway, behind some big Strip casinos. In the afternoon it’s full of cabs and people going to check into the hotels. When it first opened last year it was a good route, but now too many people know it’s a good parallel route to the Strip, and a lot less traffic. But it’s backing up so I just go a different way. I drive past a big lot where lots of big frames made of colorful pipes are piled up. It took a while before I realized that these are the tower parts for the big built in place cranes, all stacked up and laying around. When stored these frames are about fifteen feet high and fifty feet long. When on site they are stood on end and attached end to end to reach whatever height is desired. Some of the towers being built will be close to a thousand feet tall, with the cranes having to put things on rooftops they end up being even taller. That’s a lot of weight and torque to be placed on those relatively small frames. Usually I’m scurrying to get home quickly, with daylight still present now I’ll have to bring the camera and get some photos of the yard.

In agreement with Teri today (again), I too am trying to drop back the pounds that time seems to put on. When young I weighed 126lbs, and stayed at that weight for many years. I ate tons of stuff and never moved. But a few years ago something happened, and there was quite a change in size. Back in SD I signed up for a medical program, and was able to drop sizes significantly. But since moving it seems to drift back up. So I’m back to lunchtime walks and meals from those little microwave packets and lots of fruit and veggies, and it seems to be working. But me really loves my chocolate.

Tuesday was a really cold day – the coldest March 21 on record. The high for the day was only 51f (OK Beth, no laughter now), 20f under our normal temp for the day. And there was snow relatively low in the surrounding mountains. There was white in the hills all around the valley. Peter, one of the help desk guys, lives in Summerlin close to the Red Rock area. It’s just west of the Strip, a half hour drive up Charleston in traffic. The park is about a thousand feet higher than the bottom of the valley, and it did snow there. The ski resort on Mt. Charleston got over two feet of snow, which is reviving springtime skiing and snowboarding (less than an hour from the big casino hotels).

Here it's not deep, just a white dusting, which melted before noon as usual. But it still looks pretty, with the Joshua trees up front. But today it should be around 78f (25C), a more comfortable temp for me. I like it hot.

And a new addition to my title. Thanks to Misty, where I snitched the skipping penguin. Don't know what it has to do with Vegas, but I like moving things (still need to grab and test that cursor one) and thought it cute. Thank's Misty.

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